Now, it’s not hard to provide you with definitions of both of these terms. But, I also understand that what you really want is help making longer-term decisions. So, explaining the difference between IWMS and CAFM software provides you with some tactical advice. But, to help you make a complex purchase decision, I also need to provide you with strategic insights.
And, that’s not easy because it’s still unclear what a “nearly normal” return to classes this fall will look like at most colleges and universities in a post-COVID world.
For example, Jon Levy recently wrote an essay for The Boston Globe entitled, “The hybrid workplace probably won’t last.” His book excerpt/adaptation of You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence, which has just been published, said, “Many people are convinced that post-pandemic corporate America will have a hybrid workforce, in which most people work from home and companies save on real estate and perks. As a behavioral scientist who spent the last two years researching and writing a book about connection, trust, and belonging, I’m betting pretty much everyone eventually will go back to the office.”
In other words, a director of facilities for a college or university with a complex infrastructure and changing needs to decide whether “many people” or Levy is right in order to make a smart choice between CAFM or IWMS for his or her campus.
As Kevin Raasch explains in his jargon-free guide, “Facilities Management Software Jargon... Simplified,” CAFM (Computer Aided Facility Management) software is primarily used as a space planning and asset management tool. He adds, “CAFM is often a piece of a more robust system.”
Typically, a CAFM offers:
Raasch says, “Space and move management are the most common uses for this software. Organizations use CAFM for organizing space and keeping track of items within the area.”
In short: CAFM is a single resource for tracking space use and managing moves. While not comprehensive, facilities staff often utilize CAFM as a piece of a larger platform.
Raasch’s guide also explains that an IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System) is the most comprehensive of the facilities management platforms.
A complete solution, an IWMS focuses on all the pillars of facilities management:
Raasch says, “An IWMS provides extensive functionality within a single platform.”
In short: If you’re looking for a comprehensive platform that focuses on all pillars of facilities management, then an IWMS is your best choice.
It should be clear from this quick examination of the definitions that there are some similarities, but the difference between IWMS and CAFM isn’t trivial.
Yes, software tools like Computer Aided Facility Management (CAFM) and Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) equip you to plan, monitor, and execute your facilities management tasks. And, yes, either CAFM or IWMS help you to guide your facility with precision.
But, don’t settle for CAFM software alone when you can get so much more out of your facilities management software. For example, AiM from AssetWorks is an IWMS that provides an extensive range of facilities management tools under a single, unified software platform.
Now, I understand that, as a Director of Facilities in higher education, you are already doing more with less.
But, as Carl von Clausewitz observed in his classic book, On War, “A short jump is certainly easier than a long one, but no one wanting to get across a wide ditch would begin by jumping half-way.”
So, what you also need is someone who can help you through a complex buying process.
According to Gartner, “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers‚ each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group. At the same time, the set of options and solutions buying groups can consider is expanding as new technologies, products, suppliers and services emerge.”
Gartner adds, “These dynamics make it increasingly difficult for customers to make purchases. In fact, more than three-quarters of the customers Gartner surveyed described their purchase as very complex or difficult.”
Gartner research also identified six B2B buying “jobs” that you and your peers must complete to their satisfaction in order to successfully finalize a purchase:
To help you through this complex process, the higher education experts at AssetWorks is focused on providing you with prescriptive advice and practical support to make the buying process easier to navigate and complete.
At a minimum, they can provide you with information that is:
Plus, I’ve met them on several occasions and I’m in the process of interviewing each member of the team. And I’ve been impressed with their expertise, experience, trustworthiness, and likability.
So, if you have questions about CAFM or IWMS, just contact one of the higher education experts at AssetWorks. They are located in the US and Canada, the UK and Ireland, as well as Australia and New Zealand. And they know education and have the technical expertise and the answers you need to ensure you and your campus are supported throughout implementation.
About Greg Jarboe
Greg Jarboe is the president and co-founder of SEO-PR, which has provided services to the University of the Pacific, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, and Dickinson College. Greg has been an instructor in several Rutgers Business School Mini-MBA programs.
Greg graduated from the University of Michigan, which was founded in 1817, but spent his junior year at the University of Edinburgh, which was founded in 1582, making it one of Scotland’s ancient universities and the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world. That’s when he had his first bite of haggis at a Burns Supper.
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